Here is an overview of Section Storage Boxes from prototype 1, prototype 2, a rendering of the section storage insert in the game box, the add-on Storage boxes and the three types that I purchased to help me play the game.
NOTE: Mind you, everything here is NOT final… we do NOT know what will come with the Core Box nor even exactly what the add-on Section Boxes will be in the final. Be sure to read the official Awaken Realms warning about this!
Before we go any further, let’s see what exactly is being stored in these Section Storage Boxes!
- Section specific equipment cards that are available for use
- Section cards for rank 1 crew
- Section cards for rank 2 crew
- Section cards for rank 3 crew
- Rank sleeves (each crewmember’s card will always be in a rank sleeve that denotes their rank of either 1, 2 or 3
- Available Crewmember cards (in their current rank sleeve)
- Resting Crewmember cards (in their current rank sleeve)
- Divider cards that are a bit taller than a standard card that is used to divide the cards in the box into the groups
- Section dice that are available for use
The dice are “rattling around” inside the storage box in front of (or behind) the cards for their section (except for the two storage box options that have a separate drawer or tray for the dice).
During Planetary Exploration some of the Sections cards will be taken out and placed on the game table next to the crew tray which will hold the card for the crewmember who is going on the mission. The dice also are removed and placed on the crew tray. Some dice may not be available for use by a rank 1 crewmember and thus may stay in the storage box.
During the Ship Phase the dice will need to be used off and on so they will be pulled out of the storage box for a short time and then returned back into the Section Storage box. Crewmembers that rank up will have their cards placed in different rank sleeves to denote their new higher rank (of 2 or 3). During Ship Phase, some available crew may be used at different times. Once used in a Ship Phase task their card goes into the Resting Crew section of the storage box (and stays there until the Ship Phase following the next planetary exploration mission.)
The Section Storage box is never “empty”. Crewmember cards may shift from the “available” group to the “resting” group during the Ship Phase. The section dice will also be taken out and used now and then during the Ship Phase (but always returned to the storage box after use). It will always hold the unused rank sleeves for that Section as well as resting crew and the available crew who are not going on the next planetary exploration mission. Section cards that are not being used in the current mission and any dice that are not being used in the current mission also will be in the storage box.
Originally, prototype 1 had a separate flip open thin plastic card storage container. Here are some screenshots from On Table (December 2020):
These appear to be the inexpensive ($2) Sideholder 80 thin plastic boxes from Gamegenic. When I first got the prototype 2, I purchased a set of these in colors that matched the ISS Vanguard Section colors (yellow, rose, purple, blue). They were very hard to use while playing the game since the flip open lid did not stay open and the dice were mixed in with the cards.
Awaken Realms changed the storage boxes for Prototype 2. Now they did not have a separate box for each Section. Instead, it had one long box that was divided into four areas, one for each Section as seen here:
Since this was only for the prototype, it was hand made from cardboard (and this must have taken quite some time to do). The full color sticker on both long sides of this storage tray was used to denote which area in the box was for each Section. I did not like the setup. In order for a player to get something from their “Section Box” they had to take the whole long box with the contents of all four Sections. And since both the cards and the dice would come and go from the Sections, I felt that it would be too easy to replace a die for one section into the WRONG Section area in the box (as an example). And while in the storage area, the dice for each section were on the bottom of their area of the box.
The rendering for the storage insert for the Core Game box looks like this:
It also looks like the whole box would need to be passed back and forth between the players as they needed their section dice or crewmember cards etc. However, while not depicted in the rendering, the various compartments might be individually removable (or not). At the moment we don’t know what the final will be like. However, it does look like the dice and cards for each section will be mixed together into that section’s storage area and perhaps there will be one long section in that storage insert that you take out that holds everything for each of the four sections (as with Prototype 2).
An Add-On Section Storage box look like this:
The advantage with these Section Storage boxes ($39 for four) is that there is a separate tray for the dice so that they are NOT just tossed into the bottom of the card storage area (as with all previous storage boxes). However, the problem with these is that the logo for each section is on the lid, and if several storage boxes are opened at once it won’t be easy to determine which is which and dice may get put into the wrong box. It appears to be able to hold up to 16 dice which is fine since the maximum dice that can be used on a mission is 15 (though it seems that you ARE able to purchase even more dice per section). If I choose to get this Add-On I definitely would want to paint each of the four sections the color to match their section (yellow, rose, purple, blue)… Unless, of course, Awaken Realms will have the Sundrop version using four different colors of sundrop to match the sections… now THAT would be COOL and IDEAL! And I would get that for sure! (especially since I have never ever painted a miniature so would need to get someone else to paint my storage boxes for me).
After deciding that the inexpensive thin plastic Gamegenic storage boxes were too hard to use during gameplay I purchased the Squire 100 premium storage box ($18) from Gamegenic:
If you don’t mind mixing your dice into the bottom of the storage box these are perfect and are available in all four ISS Vanguard Section colors! The lid is removable and can be placed under the main storage box as seen in my photo. The two sides of the “lid” or “cover” use magnets to attach to the main box. The whole storage box is NOT just a hard thin plastic. The outside seems almost like a fine cloth or velour with a very nice feel to it. Then there is another layer for the inside that is very soft and will protect your cards (and dice). Gamegenic refers to this material as “Nexofyber surface + microfiber inner lining“.
However, Gamegenic also makes a storage box that includes a drawer at the top that will hold 16 dice and the standee for the Section crew – Perfect! It is the Watchtower 100 ($30) and is what I am currently using while playing ISS Vanguard (yes, the Add-On Section Storage boxes are about 1/3rd the cost of these… but these ARE nice)!
NOTE: for some reason my Google Pixel 4 camera does not photograph PURPLE well. I have noticed this “flaw” with other photos I have been taking recently. Look at the Gamegenic webpage to see the colors that they offer (and even their official webpage does not show the purple the way the one I have actually looks!) See if your local Game Store has it in stock as that would be the only way to know for sure about the color purple! (and it is wonderful to support your local game store)
After playing the first four tutorials and beginning tutorial #5, I am really liking these Watchtower storage boxes, especially the dice drawer! There is one drawback though. The card storage tray is designed to hold sleeved standard cards. Prototype 2 has divider cards for these standard cards and the divider cards are too tall for the storage tray… so I just keep them tilted a bit! The Squire storage box could hold the divider cards just fine, but then the dice are just tossed into the bottom of the box (which his fine if you are OK with it). At this point, I’d recommend getting the Awaken Realms Section Storage Boxes Add-On OR getting the Gamegenic Watchtower in the four Vanguard Section colors.
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